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Evaluating mountain goat dairy systems for conversion to the organic model, using a multicriteria method

  • Y. Mena (a1), J. Nahed (a2), F. A. Ruiz (a3), J. B. Sánchez-Muñoz (a4), J. L. Ruiz-Rojas (a4) and J. M. Castel (a1)...


Organic farming conserves natural resources, promotes biodiversity, guarantees animal welfare and obtains healthy products from raw materials through natural processes. In order to evaluate possibilities of increasing organic animal production, this study proposes a farm-scale multicriteria method for assessing the conversion of dairy goat systems to the organic model. In addition, a case study in the Northern Sierra of Seville, southern Spain, is analysed. A consensus of expert opinions and a field survey are used to validate a list of potential indicators and issues for assessing the conversion, which consider not only the European Community regulations for organic livestock farming, but also agroecological principles. As a result, the method includes 56 variables integrated in nine indicators: Nutritional management, Sustainable pasture management, Soil fertility and contamination, Weed and pest control, Disease prevention, Breeds and reproduction, Animal welfare, Food safety and Marketing and management. The nine indicators are finally integrated in a global index named OLPI (Organic Livestock Proximity Index). Application of the method to a case study with 24 goat farms reveals an OLPI value of 46.5% for dairy goat farms located in mountain areas of southern Spain. The aspects that differ most from the agroecological model include soil management, animal nutrition and product marketing. Results of the case study indicate that the proposed method is easy to implement and is useful for quantifying the approximation of conventional farms to an organic model.


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